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The Science of Space

New labs allow young investigators to go where scientists have never gone before: Bacteria, beware.


The Science of SpaceStudents love the new, state-of-the-art research laboratory spaces made possible by a recent multimillion dollar renovation of seven floors of the Bloomberg School’s North Wing.

The goal of the project completed earlier this year wasn’t simply to update the labs but to build on decades of research—much of it produced here at the School—on healthy and productive lab and workspaces. Large windows and reflective surfaces spread light. Open and flexible layouts promote collaboration. And careful design of support systems minimizes energy use.

Postdoc Dingyin Tao of the department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology raves about the new mass spectrometer situated in custom-made quarters that has made work much easier. “In many ways, a mass spectrometer is like a ‘newborn baby’ who needs to be taken care of very carefully. We need enough space, no dust, a consistent temperature and no direct sunshine,” says Tao, who is developing a new saliva-based malaria test.

Second-year PhD student Hillary Clark of the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a big fan of the new tissue culture room. “The hood is huge, the lighting is great, and everything is organized. It’s a lot more efficient to get things set up and start my experiments,” says Clark, who studies the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

After spending her first day in one of the new labs, Clark said, “I’m happy that I’m only a second year, and I get to spend a lot more time here.”